Guns of Icarus Online Review (PC)
It’s hard not to enjoy Guns of Icarus Online simply for stretching into the unknown with something that ties together a lot of great elements into a game unlike many before it. At its heart it’s a Co-Op focused game where a team comes together to pilot a Zeppelin-like Airship against other crews in a steampunk world. Unlike many other multiplayer games you’re heavily reliant on those around you and the actions of a single member on the team can lead to grand success or decisive failure.
Guns of Icarus encompasses massive encounters with teams of two to four across scrawling open air landscapes. You’re not going to get a lot of variety in the maps with the amount you’ll want to play but the few available at launch are simplistic and worth seeing. From debris-littered deserts to windy mountain tops everything looks great. The addition of clouds and dust storms leads to a game of cat and mouse with the enemy airships as you duck in and out of cover with enormous airships waiting for that moment your opponents are distracted to strike the killing blow. Everything about this game leads you pleading for some back story, whether it be in tomes you read through the menu or a single player focused mission system but none is found and, instead, you’re left to fill that gaps yourself; although not detrimental to the experience it’s certainly something you’re going to be wanting after spending a few hours battling across the available vistas.
Guns of Icarus Online is, in many ways, a ship management multiplayer game. There are multiple positions on the ship your crew can manage from numerous gunner positions to pilot and you’ll also have to manage the repairing of damaged stations as the crew is usually too undermanned to have a full-time engineer which leads to some intense and exciting action. All in first person, you’ll dive from one side of the ship where you’re firing at an enemy to the centre where you’ll initiate a repair on the engine then, once the pilot has finished his maneuver, you’ll run to the back of the ship to fire the rear cannon at the same enemy all while taking fire from another ship that suddenly pops through the clouds.
You’ll be picking from six different airships before battle – each of which you can captain if you’re the first to select a new ship – with differing attributes; from flying fortresses to light runners they all have a distinct style and deck layout that will make your choice when heading into battle the most critical. You’ll also be able to customize loadouts with Rockets, Harpoons and machine-gun emplacements. It’ll take a long time to get a handle on all the ship designs and layouts and you’ll want to familiarize yourself with them quick as possible; in a pinch knowing your way directly to a damaged station can be the difference in winning or losing.
Each shipmate has a class and those are broken down at the start of the match and will help define your role within the upcoming game. Captains will pilot the airship and will completely oversee things from the wheel. He will mark opponents and try to maneuver the beast of an airship in a position where his team can rain fire down on the enemy without taking too much of a hit themselves. Although usually locked in a single place you’re often going to be looking in all directions trying to plot your route of attack and defence. It’s extremely difficult to be a good Captain as you only get better with time and effort so for the beginnings of your adventure you will be letting your team down a lot and that’s a lot of pressure! Engineers wield all the repair tools and will scurry back and forth from station to station ensuring the ship is still in a flyable state. This class will rack up the most miles as they plow through the ships decks and constantly keep on the move. Gunners focus on firepower and get a lot of additional ammunition types to help destroy the enemy. You’re going to be relying on people a lot in Guns of Icarus Online as your team will have to pull together and be good at understanding their classes role in battle if your ship has any hope of surviving. The level progression for classes is a little lacklustre unfortunately and offers no real reason to focus on getting the achievements to progress. There simply aren’t rewards or unlocks that have an impact and push you to complete challenges.
Even though the game has a handful of multiplayer game types they really aren’t dissimilar enough to feel different to each other. Map locations for modes are unfortunately placed and often you’ll not remember what mode you’re playing and simply get on with killing your opponent. It’s unfortunate that things don’t develop more throughout your time and add a little spice to the adventure to keep you invested.
Although often hampered by the odd glitch Guns of Icarus Online is a fantastic game that offers an experience unlike any modern day multiplayer game. The unique way in which it builds tension and excitement through simple management techniques is an excellent example of how different things can be. The aesthetic is fresh and clean and puts pressure on the individual rather than the team as a whole while still making you feel part of something greater.Guns of Icarus Online Review (PC),